"The first game is the only one that matters from a one-game-at-a-time approach," he said. "Obviously, they've had our number the last few years. We've lost eight in a row against them. So it's exciting to start at home against them with a division game."
Beginning the season with a division opponent offers a double-bladed effect for teams. The winner gets an extra boost toward the AFC West crown while the loser has additional ground to make up.
"That first opponent, that's always exciting to learn who you are going to play first," head coach Anthony Lynn said. "We've got Kansas City, and that's going to be a heck of a challenge for us. They won our division last year. We're very familiar with them, and they're familiar with us. It should be a good ballgame. ... That team is going to tell us a lot about ourselves right off the bat."
There will be plenty of intrigue for the opening Chiefs-Chargers tilt, in which Patrick Mahomes II will begin his career as K.C.'s starting quarterback. There is a benefit for the Chargers facing a young quarterback before he's knee-deep in his first full campaign. On the flipside, L.A. defensive coordinator Gus Bradley won't have much film to scout Mahomes.
The changes on the Kansas City defense could be the biggest beneficiary for Rivers, who has struggled mightily against the division foe. With the Chiefs trading away Peters and saying goodbye to the likes of Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, Rivers will be facing a revamped defense still attempting to gel.
Division games are always important. The level of significance gets magnified when it opens the season, and you've lost eight straight times to that opponent.